In the UK, a Westminster Kingsway student chef has won training with Peruvian chef and restauranteur, Virgilio Martinez in Lima, Peru, after taking first prize in the Super Foods Peru Young Chef of the Year competition.
The Peru Trade & Investment Office launched the nationwide competition to encourage young UK students and chefs to learn about Peruvian ingredients and flavours.
20 year-old Sophie Maton, who currently works at The Waterleaf (Reynolds Retreat and Spa Borough Green) where ‘health-boosting superfoods’ feature heavily on the menu. excited judges with her Peruvian superfood-focused menu.
“When starting my research on the Peruvian cuisine I soon realised what a wide variety of beautiful ingredients Peru has to offer," said Maton. "The competition allowed me to experiment with new ingredients and create a menu which I felt represented Peruvian food in a unique way.
"On the day of the competition my timing and organisation skills were challenged, but overall it allowed me to express my natural passion for cooking." she added. "I’m extremely excited to visit Peru, not only to extend my knowledge and interest in Peru’s natural treasures, but also its rich culture.”
The young chef competed against six other UK finalists, who were under the age of 25 and either studying or working in the food industry.
Each entrant submitted their own menu, and incorporated a variety of Peruvian superfoods, including blueberries, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, corn, mackerel, cocoa, asparagus and cherimoya.
“The competition will educate tomorrow’s top chefs about Peruvian ingredients and cooking with the aim of providing inspiration for their menus and increasing demand for Peruvian products into the future," said Jaime Cardenas, director of the Peru Trade & Investment Office. "We want to show the next generation of UK chefs what the excitement about Peruvian cuisine is all about - and teach them about the many fantastic ingredients and flavours that come out of Peru.”
The judging panel included chef lecturer and author Jose Souto; head chef at Lima restaurants in London Robert Ortiz; MasterChef finalist, food writer and chef Juanita Hennessey; head chef at MNKY HSE Mark Morrans; supply chain manager at Quinola Mothergrain Cyril Brites; food writer Xanthe Clay, and Marc Devis from Seven Publishing.